Friday, March 27, 2015

Holiday and it feels so good

Made book earrings. Admire people who make jewelry so much!

Whoo hoo for a little time away.
Appreciate holidays.
Have to type posts on my iphone since my ipad won't let me on Blogger. Sigh. 
Here's something I've had on my mind... I really like not being the cancer patient with strangers. It's a weird relief. I never really enjoyed talking about my arthritis thru the years unless it randomly came up (usually because of my food choices) or would help someone. Now cancer really can be hidden as well. Hmm.  

Sure. My wonderful friend is here with us for this trip. She's keeping a close eye on me and having fun at the same time. (Megan has been around and supported me thru all three diagnoses plus chemo and weekly visits for qi gong, etc. Such a good friend.) 
Time with my husband and kiddo is treasured. Even the times when the kiddo is a little annoying and over enthusiastic, feeling lucky. 
I like not being mostly bald this trip. Not as much conversation about cancer.  I still get fatigued at times and need a rest but overall I'm not being held back and I'm having fun. 

I'm posting pictures on Facebook and instagram and will have blog posts with adventures included. 
For now just a few glimpses. 
Had fun working on batik. 

Like this picture my friend Megan suggested and took. 

Friend shared this article, really useful.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Did you just say "sewing machine"?

Another week buzzing by. Enjoyed these days at work and home...  Might be offline for a few weeks except a word here and there. Leaving my laptop at home while we travel this time. I'll have my iPad but am not as comfortable typing on that.

Grateful I booked an appointment with my acupuncturist on Tuesday. I was in a bit of pain in my back and chest. Plus my stomach wasn't treating me very kindly... the day after acupuncture treatment I felt incredibly better. Qigong that evening helped as well I'm sure... starting to make qigong part of my daily routine.

This afternoon I met the lymphedema specialist to see if there was anything I need to be concerned about or careful with and was quite reassured by the end of the appointment. I learned how to give myself a lymphatic massage and also he whipped out his sewing machine and created a compression garment that looks like half a corset made of stretchy fabric and foam cut to shape for my breast that has been painful since September. Just for sleeping though. Woo hoo to a solution that doesn't include something going over my shoulders. Thrilled. Presently I don't need to worry about my arm/legs but I need to be aware and careful of how they are feeling/doing.
If needed for friends in Hong Kong: Nathan Bridgeman was professional, thoughtful, helpful, and reasonably priced.
*I'm not quite over how quick he created the compression garment for me, this guy was a talented, experienced expert and I was thrilled to watch him make some of it on his sewing machine! Shall see how it helps me out. Doesn't feel like a torture device, just feels supportive. Plus, it was nice to work with an American who I didn't have to stumble with for communication...

There's nothing like having goals. Presently, there are many... but I'm not overwhelmed, yet.
First: trip to Bali. Grateful we were able to shift tickets and make this an affordable possibility. Especially happy that I have a break from treatment and can enjoy this with my family without being in a partial chemo stupor. (Fully admit, most of the first week of our trip to the Philippines I was knocked flat by chemo I'd received the day before our flight.)
Second: transition preparation. Getting thru paperwork. Getting thru purging. Going thru library projects so that things can be fantastic for the next teacher librarian and my lovely library assistant who has patiently dealt with project after project this term. I packed two boxes at school of personal items (bringing quite a bit less back to the US but that's ok). Going to begin using the postal system and mailing boxes home on a weekly basis.
Third: Chemo. Get thru the last to rounds. Meh.
Fourth: focus on the move to the US. We're down to 104 days until we're home. Wow. It is really going quick.

I'm trying to put cancer aside and enjoy the days. My husband did have to talk me down from a ledge last night when I started worrying about when I'd get the last two chemo treatments, etc. Shall see. He reminded me that worrying and wondering was useless until I see my oncologist in a few weeks.
Hey, there's more hair there!

It is funny to get so excited over hair. But I am. I got a little jolt when I noticed my baby fluff hair on my neck. Loved seeing my eyelashes back in full force. Nose hair? Meh, made me laugh. But having the hair on my head growing back makes me happy. It is odd how it is growing back but I see and feel curls! Hooray hair.

It is starting to hit me how much I will miss Hong Kong. I love the people I work with, they inspire me. I love my librarian friends, they provide such support, love and energy. I adore my Jewish community friends and am heartbroken to leave a community that I feel special and welcomed in... We have other wonderful friends that I'll miss too... Sigh. I know I've missed Oregon for the same reasons plus I miss my family a ridiculous amount but man, I will miss Hong Kong, it has embedded in me and there are so many things I think about on a daily basis that have helped me grow, stay calm, and learn over the past three years. Sigh. Had a good conversation today with my human resources contact who has helped me deal with the insurance nightmare and is quite kind and friendly... She was so relieved when she found out that I'm returning home to a job (I don't know what yet, but I'm hopeful/excited/happy) and that I'll have insurance. Yes, that is a big thing to be reassured by. She also liked that I'd be 5 minutes from my parents house... excited to move back into our old home... Very sweet woman. Appreciate the people that have been there for me and saved me over and over since August '13. 

I'm still glancing at my VirtueScope every day. (Helps to have it on the wall next to my side of the bed.) This is my month to focus on "resourceful"... Well, I've always felt that I'm pretty resourceful, but it has been a nice word to think about every morning. As a teacher librarian, I'm all about resources. As a blogger, I feel resourceful when I'm recommending books and websites and such. Hmm. Next month? Dignified. Hmm.

I sat down and counted out weeks. I've worked for 11 weeks now. Without needing to take a sick day. Wow. I didn't think that would be possible. Especially with still going thru chemo treatment in the beginning and all thru the darn radiation and side effects. 11 weeks. 5 1/2 weeks were radiation... After this holiday there will be 11 weeks more of work. Shall see how those weeks treat me. So grateful to my amazing recovering body. 

Well, thanks for journeying with me... shall try to post here and there while we're on this trip but never know about internet connectivity.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Plugging away and getting thru the days

Well. Got thru another week. Had a harder one, perhaps I'm pushing myself too much/expecting too much but I'm not quite feeling great. This is ok for me just making time to rest every day after work but I'm not thrilled with the pressure I feel in my chest and the odd pain I feel in my stomach area. I brought this up with my oncologist today and he said to be patient and that the pain is normal. Hmm. Chatted with him about plans for the next months. He said he actually now would like to skip giving me a PET scan and instead do the last two rounds of chemo first. Hmm. I look forward to seeing him on April 11th to find out more about his plans. I've been asked by insurance/HR people to go back to the local hospital possibly for the last two rounds of chemo treatment as the cost might be much lower. I will respect that request but if I feel that I'm compromising my health, I'll return to my oncologist. Cost is terrible and scary but honestly, I'm not taking any risks... we'll deal as needed.

I was happy about a few things, got teary eyed again about them actually- I've gained a little weight again, phew... nice to not get a lecture about eating... Plus my cancer tumor markers have gone down again a bit which I find reassuring. Darn cancer... really working hard lately to refocus my thoughts to the positives, anytime I have the negative ones creep in. Really challenging sometimes but overall I know I'm doing pretty well at keeping positive. Expected up and down days since I'm on break from treatment...

A few things to look forward to... holiday in a week and a wonderful friend joining us for most of the time, woo hoo... and then work thru the end of June... then moving home to Oregon early July! I decided to begin a countdown for the move home...  hooray to 109 days left to enjoy Hong Kong and Asia before the big move back.  Countdown

My good friend Lenore has returned to the US, sigh. It was so so wonderful to spend time with her and catch up. Grateful for the gift of time that we had together (plus fun time with other lovely friends as well during the visit)... Lenore was interviewed by another author friend/radio presenter, Reenita Malhotra Hora, during her visit on Hong Kong's radio station- RTHK, it was a fantastic interview!!

Thanks for journeying with me...

Feeling lucky for special times with friends. Grateful... :)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Graceful... Grateful...

*I had a good weekend, appreciated the energy I had and actually went to a special event and enjoyed the dressing up/dancing/socializing time. Was grateful for a different venue. I also am enjoying every minute I spend with Lenore while she's visiting Hong Kong. Little gifts of time.

I just finished my last official Skype session with my life coach. We were supposed to meet every other week for 6 months but she adjusted our schedule to accommodate treatments and travel needs so we were able to meet over the course of all my chemotherapy and radiation and a little recovery as well. What a blessing to have a professional to meet with and provide inspiration and guidance over this journey. She's a gem. Highly recommended too- even with Skype and online connections, it was worth every minute chatting with her.  If you want to know who I met with visit Lisa's site:  Best recommendation my brother-in-law ever gave me (and he's shared many insightful thoughts over the years.) He knew Lisa because of their Iron Man team and how lucky I was to connect with her before my third diagnosis...
So, Lisa wrote up a recap of our sessions and time together and her view on my journey. Thought it was so beautifully written that I wanted to share on my journal here... Thank you Lisa, I'm so grateful for our time together. I really appreciate everything that I've learned and everything I've been able to add to my thriving toolbox!

From Lisa -

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Catch Wellness Program Summary

Name:  Debbie Alvarez
Date:  3-9-15

You started this journey back on August 11, 2014 in hopes of rebuilding your strength after recovering from 2 rounds of cancer diagnosis, surgeries,  chemo and radiation treatment.  You were losing weight and wanting to re-evaluate your food and nourishment.  Sleep was a big issue and you were getting an average of 6-7 hours of sleep. You claimed you have a lot of worry.   You wanted to revisit yoga, dancing, and strength exercises.
Goals for 1 month, 3 months and 6 months:
We did not set goals since after one health coaching session you were diagnosed with lung cancer and were faced with chemotherapy and radiation.  This was a harsh reality.  You faced one month, one week, one day and one hour at a time.   


Food and Eating Habits:  You tried all my recipes and provided honest feedback on how they made you feel.  You added in noodles, savory foods, such as miso, green smoothies and juicing, variety of veggies, tofu, chia seed pudding, small amounts of chicken, more fruits, lentils, bone broth, kombucha, and soups.  Your helper made you meals around your nausea and low energy days.  The only cravings you had were noodles.  You stayed on track with 3 solid meals a day and were able to maintain and even gain a few pounds through the chemo and radiation!  This is incredible!  By November 2nd you gained 3 lbs.  Diarrhea became an issue during chemotherapy so you added in rice milk, which helped some.   You were very consistent with your healthy diet and maintained 3 solid meals a day with a lot of hydration.  I am super proud of you since this can be extremely challenging going through chemotherapy and radiation.  You never got sick and your counts remained stable overall!  This is a testament to your healthy nutrition and primary food focus!  

Overall Feeling of Improved Well-being: You amaze me Debbie.  You started out with so much worry and some anger around your diagnosis.  You expressed it being difficult to ask for help from others.   You have accomplished so much the past 6 months!  From the beginning you added in so many positive things that were tools for your toolbox.  To name a few:  Gratitude journal, Life Interrupted Blog, Audiobooks, Book reading,  Qigong, Acupuncture and Chinese herbs, Mindfulness Apps, Art, Inktober, Mindfulness exercises and breathing exercises, Yoga Nidra, Chanting, Massage, Legs up the wall, Cancer support group, Essential oils, and Visualization exercises.  You learned to say YES to people when they wanted to help you.  You asked for assistance during chemo and radiation treatments!  You really made strides and kept such a grateful and positive attitude despite all the harsh realities and challenges!  You went back to work in late December/January and have managed your career with grace even during the most energy depleting days.  

Family Eating and Other Improvements:  Your family has been a wonderful support.  Your husband, son, sister, and your parents have given you strength.  You have an amazing circle of friends, again, a true testimony of your character and grace throughout this challenging journey.  You even managed a vacation over the holiday.  You worked on meditation practice and visualization that got you to the chair and table!  Mindfulness became one of your biggest strengths, and worry lessened with practice.  You never gave up and never gave in.  You have reached a new chapter of your book.  What will it be titled?  What is the next step?  
You stated, “I still have control”  "I plan to keep it on a positive incline”  
Debbie, I really can’t express how grateful I am to have met you and worked with you on such a personal level.  You have taught me so much and I truly believe I gained a new perspective in life because of you.   You were dealt a mean deal of cards, but have managed this journey with grace, gratitude, strength and endurance.  I am so very proud of you.  Thank you for this amazing opportunity!  Please never hesitate to reach out.  
So touched to see Lisa's perspective on this journey. What an experience.
Thanks as always for journeying with me.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Toolbox plus A Good Week- Reflecting

Three of us had amazing juice for breakfast
and great conversation too!
I received a message from an app yesterday, Timehop... I saw pictures of myself sitting on a hospital bed. Wow. It has been a year since my 1st/2nd operations for breast cancer, second cancer diagnosis. I've been taking Tamoxifen for a year now. Keeping that specific cancer at bay. I've had pain from the scar tissue for quite a long time... but the new scars are starting to recover a little bit.
I am not one for marking too many dates in my thoughts every year. Loved one's birthdays are important, anniversaries as well but cancer diagnosis? surgery? Not so sure.

I've enjoyed the past week for so many reasons... it kept me hopping, not many down-time moments.
First there was a dear friend staying with us- feels like an empty hole in our family now that you're in a hotel Lenore, we miss you! Then there was an author visit at my school on Wednesday, what fun that presenter was, enjoyed the day taking care of his needs and laughing along with my students. Also wrapped up the second book week... a relief but special the whole time.

Every day I'm getting a little stronger, feeling a little better... actually walked 10,000 steps without feeling exhausted/noticing it on Thursday. I'm really excited about an event my husband and I are going to tonight. Shall see if my strength holds up.

I chatted with my life coach a few weeks ago about what I can do to maintain my health now that radiation is over. She's seen too many people crash/get ill once their body is done with the exhausting process of surviving chemo/radiation. Guess it is like how some go on holiday and get sick because they are relaxing for the first time. We talked about what my toolbox for health holds... what my practices are for feeling strong. I've thought about this over the weeks and I have a pretty full toolbox of good practices presently, some tools are used and the others are there for emergencies and needed times.

Tools I'm presently using:
1. Breathing and relaxing. When I find myself feeling nervous/stressed, I forcibly slow myself down, lower my shoulders, start breathing slowly and deeply.
2. Qi gong. I'm still loving classes once a week and know that the practice is happening on a daily basis. I use strategies when I'm feeling insomnia occurring and also when I wake up feeling lousy.
3. Yoga. I'm still enjoying classes once a week and am grateful for the focus time.
4. Yoga Nidra- once a week I'm still practicing this with a friend, grateful for her gifts of time.
5. Family time- my son's and husband's love nurture me.
6. Quality time snuggling with my dog. She slows me down and is such a sweet little love.
7. Walking - I appreciate that I can walk to most things here in my neighborhood- grocery shopping, MTR, and more. Just a few steps away. I love the energy walking gives me.
8. Acupuncture- I'm visiting my acupuncturist still. Just not as often.
9. Chinese herbal medicine- drinking it twice a day. Still dislike the taste but I'm consistent.
10. Tea- tumeric, ginger, green tea, mint tea, and more. It helps me start the morning off right and I also drink it in the afternoon/evening. Calms my stomach.
11. Squeezed lemon in warm water- I start the day drinking this.
12. Oil pulling- I still put a teaspoon of coconut oil in my mouth first thing in the morning and swish it around for 10 minutes or so and also I do this in the evening.
13. Essential oils- I use many essential oils every day. I really feel that they've helped me keep up my immune system and also helped my stomach on bad days.
14. Health supplements- I take many vitamins on a daily basis. Some I've taken for years to help keep my arthritis at bay... others I take now for better health.
15. Massage therapy- I have two more prepaid massages. Got one yesterday. It was lovely but painful. The woman I see knows how to do lymphatic massage and is incredible at working on the areas I tell her I have pain in.

Tools waiting to be grabbed:
1. Osteopathy- I'm going to see my osteopath in a week or so, haven't seen her in ages, think it will help to get my body reset after bedrest, etc.
2. Lymphoma specialist/physiotherapist- I'm going to see one for the first time in a few weeks. Will be interesting to learn from him.
3. Chanting- I haven't done much chanting but know I can.
4. Meditation- I haven't done much of this but know I can.
5. Mindfulness- I haven't used an app, etc. in a while.
6. Gratitude journal- I haven't written in one in a long time but instead am taking note of what I'm grateful for, think the journal got me into the natural practice of redirecting worried thoughts to  appreciation instead.
7. Art- I haven't doodled in a while. Soon. Soon.
8. Writing- I'm only writing lately in this journal and on my blog... soon. soon.
9. Eating healthy food- I'm doing so on a daily basis which includes green juice, etc. but haven't expanded my repertoire too much. Shall be pulling this out soon and finding new meals to eat since I've become a little more picky recently.
10. Insomnia solution- putting my legs up the wall- haven't had to do this for a while.  (Hooray for sleep not being as tough, knock on wood.)
11. Yuen method- I think about seeing the specialist and what he says frequently but haven't found a need to return.
12. Dancing- hoping to dance at an event tonight! Shall see.
13. Exercise- beyond walking I've been waiting to have a little energy, might be getting there. Haven't stepped into the gym we joined a year ago since August. Would be nice to go use the elliptical sometime soon. Someday I hope to build up energy to do Zumba again. That would be a beautiful thing.
14. Travel- this is something I love looking forward to and then also experiencing- going to Bali in 2 weeks, hooray!! Anticipation!
15. There's always room for more tools, right? I felt very healthy simply putting away a tool last week, my wig! Bagged up, put away. Hooray.

Well... enough lists, I love my lists.
Thanks as always for journeying with me...

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Little update plus traveling down memory lane

Enjoyed the weekend, had many restful moments and happy moments with friends and family.
Saw my magician, oh, I mean my oncologist.
He pulled another rabbit out of his hat.
He didn't quite expect my reaction.
That's ok.
So, when I went in, I looked at my lung x-ray with him. It was fascinating to see how my body has recovered since September with the operation/missing part of my lung. It was a relief to hear that he didn't see any damage to my lungs from radiation.
Then, I chatted about what his plans were for me... he wants to wait 6-8 weeks to do the PET scan because if we go too soon, there could be false positive results. Sigh. That brings me to MAY for chemo. I just want to be done already. This is costly. It is stressful to deal with the insurance game. And I might have to lose my hair once again... well... I'm not thrilled.
I responded with those thoughts to him (with my eyes filling up with tears) told him that this has been so hard so far... He said that he didn't necessarily think he would use the same combo of drugs with me for the last two rounds of chemo. He might use drugs that don't make hair fall out... does this compromise my health/future? Hmm. He also mentioned that he might not even want to do the last two rounds of chemo. All depends on the PET scan.
He gave me a referral letter to see the lymphedema specialist. Shall look into that soon.
He recommended I take an anti-inflammatory for my neck pain. Shall look into that tonight.
Sigh. Hate taking drugs but I'm still in pain and it has been 5 days since my last treatment.
I'm grateful for the break. From operation to chemo to tomotherapy/radiation this time has been really challenging. I'd like to build myself up a little... get more stamina... recover from the pain in my chest... get thru these side effects.

Got to meet up two special friends Saturday... A special author friend is visiting right now... Seeing her felt like family coming together again. Very happy to see Lenore. More time will be spent together soon, so excited and grateful for the time together...

Today, I spent the morning among wonderful loving people. Good friends to chat with... good time with my son and husband too. Today, I pulled out this old thumb drive that was in my work desk and opened it. I haven't lost everything when my computer died after all. At least I didn't lose everything from 2012 and before. But since 2012... it is a toss up. Sigh to my writing. I must get over the loss of all the documents and sit down and work on my manuscripts again. It is a goal. My husband surprised me today with the gift of an external hard drive. Shall work on proper backing up on files for the future. Sigh to that learning experience.

Appreciated my husband's reminder that some images aren't as lost as I thought. Looked through all my old emails I sent month by month for my son's first few years. Made me so happy to read those old updates. Kiddo sure has grown a lot since those emails and images.
Ready to enjoy a week at work. Thanks for journeying with me....
Happy day meeting up with Lenore...

Friday, March 6, 2015

Pace yourself girl

This week whipped my behind.
I enjoyed it though. I knew it would be hard. Plus having terrible sleep doesn't help.
Coughing is still frustrating... Medicine does not help. I have seen an increase recently but am hoping that will turn around soon... Friday was the worst for this, to be honest. But somehow I got thru all the class library times and didn't break down coughing as the narrator during the puppet show yesterday (that was my biggest concern, phew).
Enjoyed time with my family this week. Little things like my kiddo finally getting new shoes felt like such a success story. Felt a little sad that I didn't have energy to go to one event that I'd committed to and another one I was excited about but being careful is more important.
Got x-ray done. Shoulder/neck pain is so annoying. Distracting. Curious to see what my oncologist says. Hoping to get a referral note to see that specialist, shall see.
Gotta say, these past three days waking up and being free of the hospital trek was a beautiful thing.
Enjoyed the children's book week, a bit going on next week as well with an author visit and also a favorite author friend visiting my home...  all good things...

So... I sorted and organized all my paperwork again for medical info. I tend to allow it to accumulate (in a somewhat organized manner) during each treatment and then at the end sort it out... another form of closure. It's amazing how thick this health documentation file has grown since my diagnosis in August. What a long time it has been, yet so short in the scheme of things I suppose. Happy to have things sorted there. Now on to organizing little areas so that when we move it will be easier to pack...

I have an issue that I've been really quiet about. I suppose this journal hasn't really felt like the place to reflect on this but now... I'm ok with it:
I'm not fond of how Susan B. Komen for the Cure manages the funding that is raised. I find that there is enough awareness of breast cancer, I dream that they could refocus on funding research... I find that pamphlets about breast exams and encouragement about getting mammograms is important, don't get me wrong... but I find it disturbing how little of their fundraising goes towards research and innovation presently... I follow one woman blogger who has started a petition... I was happy to sign this, thought I'd share.

One sweet kiddo this week came up to me with big eyes and said, "You've been so brave." I asked, "What? Doing the puppet show?" She said, "No, when you were sick..."  I told her, "Yes I am brave." And then moved on. It is amazing how being at work can distract me from illness. A very good thing sometimes.

Thanks for journeying with me as always...
See my Dr. Seuss converse shoes? I love them...
inspired from the book If I ran the circus. I dressed as Where's Waldo/Wally.
Thanks to some wonderful people for loaning me, my kiddo, and some other colleagues the costumes,
made life much easier.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Third time saying DONE

   Grateful to be done with this radiation crap. Walking down the hall every session. Going into the room to remove clothing and jewelry each time. Putting it all in a little locker and wearing the key bracelet down the hall. Putting the key on the little counter. Kicking off slippers, climbing up on the table, fitting into the body cast, laying down with arms painfully above head, covered with a sheet, adjusted left and right writing on my skin near my "tattoos", getting my other tattoo checked in the center of my chest, covered up in a fleece blanket, and going in and out of the tube... Done. Done. Done. So grateful to be finished. Hallelujah.
   Loved when I heard the words, "Ok Debbie, for the last time, it won't be long now." Brought tears to my eyes. She knew I was listening. Lovely woman... Hope she helps everyone like she did me... so kind and patient with my questions and always a smile when I came out of the changing room.
   Can't believe I have gone through three rounds of radiation treatment. This one was the most amount of treatment days. This one was the oddest because I was focused on the radiation going and killing a specific cancer tumor vs. just killing possible stray cancer cells after a tumor was removed.
Now. Waiting. Healing. I know I'm still burning from the inside out. I'm grateful to not have my skin burning this time though. I'm not fond of the side effects, but I know I'm lucky in comparison to so many others who went thru radiation in this area.
   Tomorrow? Happy to not be heading to the hospital after school.
   The next day? lung x-ray... gotta dig thru my x-rays to find my other old lung x-ray so they can compare and see if there is any damage. Then time to see my oncologist and see what he thinks and when he wants me to have that PET scan.
   Getting thru. Day to day.
   Wiped out presently. Shall see how I'm feeling in a week's time. My husband is happy I have a little recovery time. I need it. It takes over a month to feel almost like myself after radiation treatment. I remember this all too well. Energy is low. Healing is slow.
One other thing to be grateful for is not having to see that radiologist. I've been anxious the whole time I went for radiation treatment because the last two treatment rounds he made sure to see me part way through and at the end. Glad he never was there. Perhaps my oncologist told him to stay away.
Really glad that he did his part planning how the radiation should go and then let the experts run the machines and take care of me. Goodness I'm grateful. Need to stay away from his negativity as much as I can.
   Moving on. Moving up. Treating myself with care. Hoping to get over sleeping issues I've had this past week sooner than later. Shall see. Same with the neck pain. Appreciated emailing a lymphodema specialist to find out more about how to treat my neck. So glad that I learned about risks. Now I know what to watch for and how to treat my body, especially good to know to avoid heat and ice packs... I certainly want to meet up with him soon but waiting to talk with my oncologist about it first.
   I did get to celebrate a little bit after treatment by attending a Hong Kong librarians meeting (love my colleagues) and meeting a wonderful, talented author and illustrator. Then I came home and slowly ate dinner, redirected my brain to a few shows, and chilled out with family...
Many thanks for all the support all. Appreciate you journeying with me. Feels like a major step I accomplished today, even for the third time...
Goodbye locker. Goodbye hospital gowns.
Goodbye yucky hospital slippers. Goodbye treatments.
Thank goodness.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Only 2 more

Getting thru the days. Enjoyed visiting an Indian Food restaurant, delicious place. My husband said, "Wow, I'd get this takeout food every day if I could get you to eat this much at every meal." Nice to have an appetite and like food... PLUS we ordered take-out the next day from the same place, y-u-m. Yes, I'm addicted and my husband is ever so supportive...
I'm quite happy that I'm looking at final two treatment days. Pretty exhausted. Painful to deal with treatment but I'm grateful to not be burned on the skin this time. I think the main thing bringing me down right now is the shoulder and neck pain I've had since the first day of treatment. Putting that right arm over my head has exacerbated the pain... not certain how to handle it.
Normally I'd put ice on a pained area or a heat pack but I recently sat through a presentation about lymphedema and one of the recommendations was that I avoid a sauna, hot tub, or anything that makes my skin pink... also I'm supposed to avoid having anything freezing on my skin. That makes things quite limiting.
I learned also about how lymphedema occurring in different quadrants based on how the lymph nodes work... Unfortunately, I've had lymph nodes compromised in 3 areas of my body. With the cervical cancer, they harvested lymph nodes. With the breast cancer, they harvested lymph nodes under my right arm- go figure, it is my right shoulder that's in pain... With the metastatic cervical cancer, they removed a portion of my lymph nodes near my heart, those are the ones that are getting radiated presently. Think I should see a specialist to check on my lymph nodes, learn if I need compression sleeve, etc. Shall be chatting with my oncologist about this on Saturday when I see him next. Quite disconcerting but good to be aware I suppose.
Now to finish my long countdown from 30 to 0. Will be really happy to get there finally.
My husband snuck this picture of me when I was snuggling with our dog today. I'm pretty darn fatigued lately... My hair is growing in quite nice but I know it could all go away with those last two chemo treatments, sigh. Shall see. Personally the thing that stands out to me is my eyelashes since they are mostly returned now... I somewhat almost can see myself and see a healthy person again...
Thanks for journeying with me, really grateful...